Are you not only a Disney freak, but someone who wants to know the secrets behind the magic? Surely the Parks have hidden mysteries. Are you eager to expose them? I know I was. Although they are not very well known, there are quite a few opportunities to unlock the magic in the Parks. I realize that the majority of the items on this list are ridiculously expensive and not easily accessible to all, but hey, it’s fun to dream, right?
9. Conservation Station
This tour takes place in the heart of Animal Kingdom. Guests board the Wildlife Express Train that takes them to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. When you arrive, you’re immediately surrounded by animals-literally: adorable cotton-top tamarin monkeys greet the guests. Along the way, you will also encounter a petting zoo! It’s super fun and a great way for kids to connect with the animals. Make sure to check out the llama with a major under bite-he’s my favorite. Inside Conservation Station itself, you’ll see many ways to discover the inner workings of the care of the animals, including a look into the veterinary hospital and backstage cameras of the animals around the park.
8. Backstage Tales
This one is just cool. This tour includes a behind-the-scenes look at the animal care areas, such as the Nutrition Center and the veterinary hospital. Plus, check out how over 4 tons of food are prepared and distributed each day to the hungry animals. The state-of-the-art veterinary hospital is amazing as well as learning how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation and animal well-being.
7. The UnDISCOVERed Future World
This tour is especially interesting because guests get a look at the workings and thought process of Walt Disney when planning EPCOT. You’ll learn how he originally wanted EPCOT to be an actual community where people could live. The pavilions in World Showcase are also a part of this tour as guests discover how Walt inspired each of them. You’ll also see a ton of backstage areas, such as a VIP lounge in the Seas, Test Track, and a wardrobe facility. The coolest portion comes when you go behind-the-scenes of IllumiNations and learn the ins and outs of the fireworks show. As with the majority of these private tours, a complimentary commemorative pin is given to each guest at the end.
6. Wilderness Back Trail Adventure
I grew up staying in Fort Wilderness with my grandparents, so this one has a special place in my heart. This is ultimately a Segway tour. Unfortunately, the Segway tours in EPCOT were discontinued, but luckily we still have this one! This Adventure takes guests along the back trails of Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge. You will also make stops at the stables and Bay Lake. Each guest will be provided a headset where a Cast Member will give trivia, information and even stories along the way. While this probably won’t provide mind-altering secrets, it’s definitely a tour off the beaten path that is sure to be a fun time!
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5. Disney’s Dolphin’s in Depth
I mean, who doesn’t love dolphins? Except maybe that shark from Finding Nemo…. This tour is truly a once in a lifetime experience that takes place in The Seas with Nemo and Friends (or The Living Seas, it will always be The Living Seas to me). Not only do guests get to actually interact with the dolphins, but they get to learn all about how they live and are cared for. The guests are able to observe backstage areas where the dolphins are trained. They will also get to check out a training and research session and learn about that process.
4. EPCOT Seas Aqua Tour
This tour includes behind-the-scenes looks at not only the dolphins, but also all of the inhabitants of the Seas. It allows you to actually get in the Spaceship Earth sized aquarium and swim with the animals. You will be equipped with snorkel gear to help you view the 65 species of marine life that will be all around you. The two and a half hour experience includes a tour of the actual aquarium, information about its residents, and even a complimentary photo of you in your gear!
3. Backstage Magic
This is like the tour of all tours. Backstage Magic lasts about seven hours, and while that sounds like an awfully long time, keep in mind that you will be touring several different areas. At Epcot you’ll explore the inner workings of The American Adventure. At Magic Kingdom you’ll learn about Walt’s story on Main Street and navigate the utilidor tunnels. You’ll get to check out Creative Costuming to see how character costume, show and parade performers outfits are designed. At Central Shops you’ll see what artisans do to make all the Disney details pop. At Disney’s Wilderness Lodge you’ll get to have lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe. And last, but not least, you’ll get to check out the Textile Services… one of the world’s largest laundry facilities! Make sure you get a good night’s sleep beforehand, but this tour is definitely great for the junkies.
2. Keys to the Kingdom Tour
This tour takes place in Magic Kingdom, itself. It consists of a 5-hour walking tour around and under the park. That’s right: I said under. And the coolest part? You get to explore this underworld. They call the tunnel system that connects the park from below the Utilidor. Another special section tour guests are allowed access is the facility where the parade floats are kept and serviced. Between the secret spaces, your guide will tell you secrets and mysteries about the park and attractions in general. You will also get to know more about Walt Disney. During the tour, guests are also provided lunch at the Columbia Harbour House and a special gift.
1. Wild Africa Trek
Okay Disney nerds, did you notice the bridge across the crocodile pond on the Harambe Wildlife Reserve? Well that is for this Wild Africa Trek tour. The tour itself is three hours long and in that time you will be able explore the reserve in ways that had previously been impossible. The giant rope bridge that I mentioned extends over the crocodiles and hippos-don’t worry, guests are given a harness to ensure safety. During your vehicle portion of the safari, a trained guide will share information on the sights you will see; this is very similar to the original safari. A cool thing about this tour is that a complimentary photo service is provided, along with a special souvenir. At the conclusion of your tour, you will eat an authentic African meal on the reserve itself!